Do you want to turn off your guests' appetite in a hurry? Make sure the next time you have a catered event all of the food comes in disposable aluminum trays over half dead sterno cans served on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. It falls between funny and sad how many catering companies believe this is an acceptable way to cater an event, but they always have their reasons:
It's inexpensive. Yes, it certainly is. Probably one of the most cost-effective ways to host a catered event is to have over baked pasta dishes served up next to giant bowls of salad. But that does not mean the company cannot make the easy initial investment in permanent chafing pans and decorative serving utensils. If a local church can afford to do this for their monthly fund raising breakfast, it stands to reason that a professional catering company can as well.
You can rent the plates that you want. There are full service party rental companies that provide people everything from napkin rings to ten thousand square foot tents, and that does include plate ware and glassware. Today's diner, however, has an expectation of the presentation of their food as much as they do the flavor of it, and it seems that a chef who would be concerned about the appearance and presentation of his creations would make sure it went to each and every guest looking its best.
They aren't in charge of decorating, you are. Most catered events have some sense of theme to them. It could be as simple as a monthly awards ceremony or as complex as a heritage themed wedding reception, but part of that theme is established by choosing a catering company whose food matches. Once again, if given the opportunity to create the perfect atmosphere and setting for the food they are serving, wouldn't it make sense if the catering company at least offered the opportunity to provide some of the décor? Many people choose their favorite restaurant, if they are lucky enough to have one that also offers catering, to provide for their party, and some of what makes it their favorite is the feeling they get every time they go in for dinner or drinks.
A catering company's greatest marketing asset is themselves every time they are hired for a new event. There may be one specific person planning the party and writing the check, but they are providing for all of the guests. Just as importantly, they recognize each of those guests as a potential future client. The next time you need to hire a catering company, be sure you choose one that understands this event is just as important to them as it is to you.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who has been covering the food and beverage industry for more than 20 years. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com